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Carve a Turkey Like the Thanksgiving Master You Are!

Carve a Turkey Like the Thanksgiving Master You Are!

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Kicking off this week, we're partnering with our Time Inc. sister brands Food and Wine, Health, My Recipes, Real Simple, Southern Living and Sunset to bring you 60 days of amazing holiday video, with a new theme each week. Your Thanksgiving Turkey training starts now.

-----Cutting up a turkey isn't difficult, but it is intimidating. Take the pressure off and carve it in the kitchen instead of tableside. You will thank yourself later.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Also, use a sharp knife, and don't cut through the bones; cut between the bones. Hopefully your turkey will be so tender it will just fall apart and gravity will do the hard part. Here, let me show you how easy it is:

Find Your New Favorite Turkey Recipe:

How to Carve a Turkey

Carving a turkey might sound like an intimidating task, but with a few tips you can master it on the first try.

If you've never carved a turkey, it's easy to be intimidated by the feat. However despite the turkey's size, it's actually one of the easiest meats to carve, so long as you have the right steps.

How to carve a turkey, according to knife experts

By Ella Quittner
Published November 3, 2019 6:59PM (EST)

(Rocky Luten / Food52)


This story first appeared on Food52, an online community that gives you everything you need for a happier kitchen and home – that means tested recipes, a shop full of beautiful products, a cooking hotline, and everything in between!

I have a recurring nightmare every year around this time. It starts out as more of a fantasy: My friends and family are gathered around an elegant, sophisticated living room, sipping some sort of festive cocktail and nibbling on perfect two-bite gougères I was organized and technically skilled enough to whip up with no drama.

"It's almost time to eat!" I call out from the kitchen, where I'm stationed in a tasteful outfit and matching linen apron, spooning fluffy mashed potatoes into an appealing pile that guests will henceforth call "mashed potato cloud-mountain," and transferring extra-crispy brussels sprouts over to a beautiful white ceramic serving platter. (My hair looks perfect, if you were wondering.)

"Just have to carve the turkey, then we're all set!" I shout — except it's really more of a gentle, confident announcement than a shout. And then, I turn to the cutting board. Here's where things take a turn: My gorgeous, glistening turkey is as rested as can be, its delicious juices collected in the deep trivets of my favorite cutting board. I pick up my carving knife, and get started.

And before I know it, I've ruined everything. The meat ends up in dry, shreddy piles. The skin's frayed and nowhere near its corresponding meat pieces. The drumsticks look like something the Flinstones' pet dinosaur took for a spin, mouth-wise. And before I can do anything to fix it — urgent herb garnish?? — I awake, speechless.

This is no way to live. This year, I decided to put an end to the madness, and learn once and for all how to master the art of turkey carving. To aid me in this pursuit, I called in the masters: specifically, professionally trained chefs Jacqueline Blanchard and Brandt Cox, who are the knife-experts behind Coutelier. Here are their top tips:

1. Give it a rest.

Just like you after you've prepared the entire Thanksgiving meal, your bird needs a quick nap.

"Before cutting into the turkey, you must allow the meat to rest," says Cox. "For at least 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the bird. This resting allows for the internal juices of the turkey to redistribute. If you don’t give the bird time to rest, the juices will run out of the meat and the meat will appear to be dry."

In addition to maximizing juiciness, this step serves as insurance that you won't burn your hands during the carving process.

2. Have a blueprint.

Ready to carve? First thing's first: know your objective. You want to end up with eight main pieces initially, before you get into creating smaller slices. They are:

3. Follow the order of operations.

The first thing you want to do is to break down your turkey into those eight main pieces starting with the legs, according to Cox and Blanchard. "Removing the legs and joints should be the first step in slicing your turkey," they say. "Also, when removing the thigh and leg from the bird, don’t forget about the oysters!"

Once you've carved the legs from the turkey's body, you can separate the drumsticks from the thighs at the joint between them. Then, break down your bird into the remaining pieces in any order: Slice off the wings, and cut between the breasts to split them, then carve the meat from the carcass to separate the two breasts.

"After the turkey is broken down into eight pieces, I usually leave the wings and the drumsticks whole with the bone still in," he says. Then, he recommends slicing the breasts, and removing the bones from the thighs and slicing those as well. "You can also simply pull apart the thigh meat, but I find that nice consistent slices make for a more beautiful presentation. Slices are also easier for people to grab and put onto their plate."

4. The nitty gritty of carving: Tools.

According to Cox, the best knife for the initial carving is one where the blade is thicker near the handle, then slowly thins out to the top. "The thicker and more durable heel allows for easy removal of the leg from the thigh as well as other places where bone contact is more prevalent as well as gives the overall blade a lot of stability during use," he says. Meanwhile, the thinner tip allows for carvers to clean off skin, fat, or small bones, as well as to get a thin slice when dividing up the breasts and thighs. "The Honesuki is the Japanese shaped blade specifically for boning poultry," he says.

For slicing meat, a good rule of thumb is the thinner the blade, the better. "Thinner blades perform better and cut better, but can be more fragile," says Cox. "A super thin and super sharp blade does less damage to cooked meat, and damages less cellular structure in vegetables. Thinner blades will also help keep the cooked meat together instead of it 'shredding' while being sliced."

17 Thanksgiving Charts That Will Make Your Prep Work So Much Easier

Put on your apron, whip out that baster, and conquer your meal like a champion.

Consider this your ultimate survival guide to Thanksgiving &mdash one of the most stressful holidays of the year. Learn how to carve a turkey, master a lattice crust, set the table, and more with these whip-smart instructions &mdash you'll be a Thanksgiving pro in no time.

Just look to this handy chart for everything from the turkey to popular sides like potatoes and cranberry sauce.

This chart will help you figure out what to prep up to a week in advance, that way your to-dos on the big day are a breeze.

The last thing you want is an overcooked or dry turkey. Study this chart and that'll never happen.

It's all about having the right tools on-hand, including a carving board, a carving fork, a carving knife, and a chef's knife.

Veggies account for 99% of Thanksgiving side dishes, so you better not burn them. This chart will keep you in check.

Because sometimes we all need a little reminder of where the salad fork goes.

It's not easy hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but these tips will help prepare you for the unexpected.

When you look at a pie recipe and &mdash gasp! &mdash it's written in the metric system.

You know you're going to want to sprinkle this on everything &mdash might as well replace the salt in the salt shaker with it.

You won't want to mess up America's favorite pie, so use this easy-to-follow visual.

Using your hand, pull open the wing closest to you, forming a V-shape. Slice through the wing skin in the center of the V to expose the joint between the drumette and the wingette, then cut fully through that joint to remove the outer half of the wing. The drumette section of the wing will still be attached to the carcass, which will help steady the bird as you continue carving.

Again, turn your board or the turkey around so that the in tact wing if facing you and repeat the steps above to remove the second wingette.

Slice off the whole breast in one lobe, then cut it into portions.

Photo by Chelsea Kyle, Prop Styling by Alex Brannian, Food Styling by Cyd McDowell

10 of 14

Stuffing Secrets

An essential part of how to prepare a turkey is the stuffing, of course! Stuffings require three elements:

1. Starch: bread, rice, or potatoes

2. Liquid: broth, wine, or liquor

3. Additions: herbs, fruits, meats, seafood, and/or veggies

Create your own:

You'll have to do a little math: Each pound of uncooked turkey requires 3/4 cup stuffing. And for every 1 cup starch, add about 2 tablespoons liquid.

Safe stuffing:

Always mix stuffing ingredients just before stuffing and roasting the bird&mdashdo not stuff in advance.

A Man's Guide to Thanksgiving

Your gorgeously roasted turkey should have its moment in the sun, but there's no reason it should go under the knife in front of all your guests. "Very often people try to carve the turkey on the platter," Portale says. "There just isn't enough room. Present the turkey at the table, let everyone ooh and aah, and then bring it back into the kitchen." Once you're out of sight, you can roll up your sleeves and do the do the dirty work correctly. "Use your fingers," Portale says, "and do what you have to do to get it done."

How to Carve a Turkey

Carving a turkey is one of those skills you should file under "need to know," along with ordering wine, buying a suit, and riding a motorcycle. And since we're not born knowing how to cut up birds, there's no shame in asking for a little help. We dropped by New York's Gotham Bar and Grill to get a lesson from chef Alfred Portale, a four-time James Beard Award winner, and a man so serious about carving that he made the cutting board that you see here—by hand. "You just have to be confident," Portale says. "You really can't make a mistake." To make things even easier, we had Portale break it down for us.

2. Get an Edge

The single most important ingredient for a properly carved turkey is an extremely sharp blade. "A dull knife—or a serrated knife or, God forbid, an electric knife—tends to tear the meat as you slice it and releases a lot of the juice," says Portale. His blade of choice? A nine-inch plain-edge carving knife—like the J.A. Henckels International Classic shown here—with hollow grindings (the indentations you see along the blade) to reduce surface tension as you slice.

The first thing to do when the bird comes out of the oven is. absolutely nothing. "You really want to let it rest," Portale says. A larger bird (anything over fifteen pounds) needs about twenty minutes for the juices to redistribute, which gives you time to set up your carving board and heat your serving platter at the lowest setting in the oven (yes, you actually do need to do this). Give the bird some cover while it sits, but keep it loose. "If you wrap it in foil," Portale admonishes, "you run the risk of the skin losing its crispness."

After you've cut the strings, removed the skewers, and scooped out any stuffing, you're ready to get started. Your first cut should be between the leg and the body of the turkey run the tip of your knife along the bone to separate the leg meat. What you're looking for is the ball joint that connects the leg to the hip, so pull the leg away from the turkey as you work. Slice through the joint, and then trim the skin to pull the leg off cleanly.

5. Drum Roll

Using the tip of the knife, locate the joint that connects the thigh to the drumstick and cut through it to separate the two pieces. The drumstick goes directly on the platter for someone to devour like a caveman.

6. Cutting the Thigh

Place the thigh flat on the cutting board to cut the rich dark meat into slices. "You're not trying to slice it thin," Portale says. "You're cutting chunks—thick pieces." He suggests starting at the outside of the thigh, cutting toward the bone as you see here, and repeating from the other side.

8. The Big Cut

Make a small incision along the top of the breast to find the keel bone. Once you've found it, start cutting the breast meat away. "Let the tip of your knife follow the shape of the bone," Portale says. "And don't worry if you leave some meat on there. That goes in the soup pot."

7. Clipping Its Wings

Using the tip of your knife, separate the wing, pulling on it as you go. Again, you're looking for the ball joint that connects it to the bird. You can remove the meat, but the wing is another piece that's great to gnaw on whole.

"With the breast removed and placed on the cutting board, it's easy to cut nice, thick slices," Portale says. As you may have noticed, he prefers hefty slices for the way they retain heat and moisture.

**Chang-Style Brussels Sprouts **

David Chang talks about Brussels sprouts the way he talks about pretty much everything—with blunt force. "Basically, you can't fuck them up," he says, a pan of sprouts sizzling and sputtering in front of him. "Cook the shit out of them just don't turn them to charcoal."

Chang makes it sound easier than it is, but he's not exaggerating by much. What's essential is not how you flavor the sprouts but how you cook them. Do it right and you can give them any type of spin you want. The key is to achieve an evenly browned finish. It's one that's best achieved by slicing the sprouts lengthwise, then cooking them cut-side down. Chang likes bacon fat, but olive oil works just as well. He also prefers a skillet on the stovetop to get the caramelization going. But if you're cooking for a large group—say, at Thanksgiving—you can easily lay a few dozen down on a baking sheet or two and roast them in a hot oven.

Really, they don't require much more than salt and lemon juice. How much more flavoring you want to add—and how tough you want to talk about them—is up to you.—Adam Rapoport

** 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

With a knife, trim the hard, woody ends of the sprouts, then slice in half lengthwise through the core.

Cut the bacon into small chunks and cook in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat till crispy, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

Drain most of the fat from the pan and add the sprouts, cut-side down. Raise the heat to medium high and sear until the sprouts begin to sizzle. Put the skillet in the oven and roast until the sprouts are deeply browned, 8 minutes or so, then shake the pan to redistribute them and ?ip them over. Pull the pan from the oven when the sprouts are bright green and fairly tender (taste one to check), about 10 minutes more, depending on how large they are.

Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat. Stir in the bacon and, if you want, a pat or two of butter. Swirl till incorporated.

Place in a bowl. Add a few squirts of sriracha hot sauce, depending on how hot you like it, and a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve with anything.

Potato Terrine with Goat Cheese and Sage

If you find yourself in New York City on the second Monday of any given month, your best bet is to head down to Recette for "Mondays with Jesse"—a ten-course showcase of chef Jesse Shenker's enviable kitchen chops. And if you find yourself without a killer potato dish this Thanksgiving, you could do much worse than to follow Schenker's recipe below.

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 shallots, peeled and diced

1 8 oz. log of goat cheese

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In saucepan, heat heavy cream with garlic, sage and thyme, and heat to a summer or until bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan. Do not allow to boil.

Turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes.

While cream is sitting, peel and slice potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, and arrange a single layer of potatoes in the bottom of a two-quart rectangular baking dish. Crumble goat cheese over the first layer (save 1/3 of the goat cheese for use in step 8), and add salt and pepper. Repeat until all potatoes are used.

Pour cream mixture over potatoes. Press down on to make sure they are covered in liquid.

Place dish in oven and bake for for 1 1/2 hours, until potatoes are nearly fork tender.

Crumble remainder of goat cheese on top with parmesan, and increase oven to 350. Let cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.

Once you have the breast off, you can start in on the uncut side, but only if necessary. "If possible you only want to cut half of the bird," Portale says, "just enough for everyone to get a taste. Don't cut up the whole thing until it's time for seconds."

Roasted Root Vegetables by Graham Elliot Bowles

Graham Elliot Bowles was a lad of 27 when The Chicago Tribune gave him a perfect rating for his cooking at Avenues at The Peninsula Chicago, making him the youngest four-star chef ever anointed in a major American city. Today he's chef-owner of Graham Elliot. Last year, Bowles was asked to bring the sides for his first Thanksgiving at the in-laws' place. We asked him for the kind of dish weɽ want to make if we were in his shoes—something impressive, delicious, and difficult to screw up. It doesn't get much better than this medley of roasted root vegetables, which (almost) makes us glad that summer's over.

3 pounds assorted baby carrots

6-inch length butcher twine

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1 head garlic split in half

½ tablespoon unsalted butter

Peel and clean the rutabaga, turnips, parsnips, and baby carrots. Cube all of the root vegetables so that they are uniform in shape, leaving the carrots whole.

With a paring knife, remove the onion's outer papery skin and stem.

Take the laurel leaves, thyme, and rosemary and tie together with the twine.

Toss all of the root vegetables and the onions in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, the herb bouquet, and the halved garlic.

Place the mixture in a roasting pan or casserole and roast in oven uncovered for about 15–20 minutes at 400 degrees, until the vegetables start to turn golden brown.

Add the butter to the pan, baste the vegetables, and cook for another 2–3 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to your favorite serving platter and garnish with the chopped chives and a sprinkle of fleur de sel.

**Cauliflower with Pears, Sage, and Hazelnuts by Andrew Carmellini **

In honor of a minor Italian explorer named Christopher Columbus, we asked Andrew Carmellini of Locanda Verde for an Italian spin on a Thanksgiving side. Carmellini, a master of trattoria fare, gave us a recipe for cauliflower sautéed with sage and mid with a typical Piedmontese combination of fresh pear and hazelnuts. The sweetness of the pear and the buttery crunch of the hazelnuts might be the best thing that's ever happened to cauliflower, and this is a dish we'll be breaking out again at Christmas. The trick is not to overcook the butter—it should be foamy but certainly not browned, so let it reach room temperature before you throw it in the pan.

1/2 medium head of cauliflower, washed, cut apart, and sliced (4 cups)

1/2 cup hazelnuts, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped

Cut the cauliflower into florets: Using a long, sharp knife, cut around the top of the stem, then pull the florets off. Cut each floret into slices no more than 1/2 inch thick.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan until it bubbles white.

Add the hazelnuts, the sage, and the sliced cauliflower. Stir or shake them up in the pan every 30 seconds or so to keep them from sticking.

When the cauliflower has begun to cook, add the salt and pepper. Cook for another 6–7 minutes, until the cauliflower browns a bit (like an onion would).

Turn the heat off and add the pear slices and the parsley. Take off the stove and mix all ingredients together. Serve immediately.

Jalapeño Mashed Potatoes by Laurent Tourondel

When we saw jalapeño mashed potatoes on the menu at New York's BLT Steak, we admit it sounded like something from an ill-conceived southwestern lunch buffet. But you don't build an empire of excellent steak houses by screwing up the sides. So we tried them. They were deliciously creamy, with a faint kick underneath the buttery Idaho-potato puree. The trick is using fresh jalapeño, which gives the dish a surprisingly complex kick, as well as some roasted jalapeño, which brings it a deep smoky flavor.

Yields 2 quarts

5 pounds Idaho potatoes (about 4-5 large potatoes), scrubbed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Halve three of the jalapeño peppers and carefully remove seeds. Rub the halved peppers with oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 8–10 minutes. While the peppers are cooking, halve the remaining raw jalapeño peppers and remove and discard seeds. Transfer both the roasted and raw peppers to a blender, add water, and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Evenly layer the kosher salt onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place the potatoes on top of the salt and bake for 60 minutes, until very tender when pierced with a knife.

Halve the potatoes lengthwise, and scoop the pulp into a mixing bowl. Pass the pulp through a food mill or a fine mesh strainer into a mixing bowl. Bring the butter and cream to a simmer in a medium sauce pot. Once the butter has melted, pour the liquid over the potatoes and, using a spatula, mix until incorporated.

Mix the jalapeño puree with the mashed potatoes until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

The Thanksgiving Wine Conundrum

GQ_ wine columnist David Lynch on what to pour this Thursday_

Thanksgiving dinners are one-course affairs where all sorts of divergent flavors are piled on a single plate. You're not just pairing wine with turkey you're pairing wine with Brussels sprouts and bacon, canned cranberry relish, and your uncle's pre-dessert cigar. And if you show up all wine-proud at a big Thanksgiving dinner, chances are that the host—who's likely stuck in the kitchen—will never see that rare Burgundy you brought. And no wine can possibly compete with Detroit Lions football.

To avoid frustration and embarrassment, your Thanksgiving wine picks should be diplomatic, value-conscious, and probably red. Red is better suited to a brisk autumn day and is generally a crowd-pleasing color. Pick something relatively delicate, lower in tannin and alcohol and therefore more versatile—able to handle the onslaught of foods it will face. Iɽ go with a light, high-acid red from grapes such as Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, or Barbera. A spicy little Cabernet Franc from the Loire would also do the trick. Think woodsy and bright and nothing monolithic it is very easy to overpower turkey, no matter what you serve it with. And only pick a wine that you can bring enough of to serve the table. Showing up with three or four bottles of versatile and inexpensive red doesn't make you look cheap it makes you look prepared—the kind of guy who knows how to do things. The kind of guy who gets invited back. But in the end, it's not about you. It's about family. And America. Here are five sensible choices that even that that even your wine-collecting father-in-law will appreciate.

How to Carve a Turkey

After you take the turkey out of the oven, you want to let it rest for about 20 to 30 minutes before you start carving. If you start carving too early, the juices from the bird will run all over the place and your turkey will dry out. Also, letting the turkey rest and cool will reduce the chances you’ll scald yourself with delicious but molten hot turkey juice.

2. Separate the thigh from the body.

Take a sharp chef’s knife and cut the piece of skin in between the body and the leg. Once you have some separation, grab the body of the bird in one hand and the leg and thigh of the turkey in the other, and start pulling them apart to expose the joint that holds the leg to the turkey. You know you’ve reached it when you hear a pop. Carve around the joint until you don’t get any resistance. Pull the leg and the thigh away from the body of the turkey all in one piece. Repeat on the other side.

3. Separate the leg from the thigh.

Holding the drumstick, stand the thigh and leg piece up on its end. Take your knife and cut between the drumstick and the thigh bone. When you meet some resistance with the thigh bone, move your knife around it a bit until you don’t get any resistance. Make the final cut and separate the drumstick from the thigh. Place the drumstick on the platter so the kids can start fighting over who has dibs on it at dinner time.

4. Cut the thigh meat.

You’ve got some great meat on the thigh bone. Don’t let it go to waste by just hacking away at it. There’s one bone in the thigh meat and your goal is to separate the meat from the bone. Grab the end of the thigh bone, and take your knife and carefully start scraping the meat away from the bone. If you’re really careful you can take the thigh meat off in one piece. But if you need to separate it in two pieces when cutting it away from the bone, it’s no big deal. Once you get the meat separated from the thigh bone, you can carve it up for your platter.

5. Separate the wing from the body.

Our next step is to separate the wing from the body. The wing is attached to the turkey by a ball joint. Cut the area between the wing and body until you get to the joint. Once you get there, grab the wing and pull it away from the turkey until you hear a pop. Once you hear that pop, take your knife and start cutting through the tendons and ligaments surrounding the joint until you separate the wing from the body. You can serve the wing whole on your platter. Repeat on the other side.

6. Carve the turkey breast.

You have some options on how you carve the turkey breast. The traditional way is to carve small slices off the side of the breast. There’s nothing wrong with this way, but it does tend to dry the meat out. Also, if you get the wrong kind of knife, you can tear the meat and it won’t look as good when you serve it.

Another way you can carve the breast meat so that you maintain juiciness is to cut the entire breast off the turkey and then carve it up into smaller slices. Find the breastbone in the middle of the turkey. Pick which breast you’re going to carve first, and make a cut right next to the breastbone on that side.

Continue cutting down the side of the breastbone. It helps to use your hands to peel the breast away from the bone as you’re cutting. Keep making small slices with your knife until you can separate the entire breast from the turkey.

Once it’s off, grab your large carving knife and slice the meat against the grain starting at the small point of the breast. You can make the slices as thin or as thick as you want. If you don’t think you’ll eat the entire breast, just cut what you’ll use, and wrap the rest of the breast in plastic wrap. It will stay nice and juicy for later.

The Proper Way to Cut a Thanksgiving Bird: The Knives

Not to stereotype or anything, but if you are among the majority of American males, your big contribution to Thanksgiving dinner this year will probably amount to this: the moment when you are handed a hot, golden, glistening bird and asked to carve it.

Regrettably, turkey carvery is fast becoming one of the lost manly arts, like straight-razor shaving and musket cleaning before it. Lucky for you, this one's not hard to master &mdash or, at least, fake your way through &mdash provided you're armed with a diagram like this one and the right tools.

For some guidance on the matter, we turned to Michael Santoro, who, as chef of Philadelphia's The Mildred, regularly finds himself on the business end of whole roasted poultry.

"You definitely need a boning knife and a slicing knife," Santoro advises. "The boning knife is for taking the meat off the carcass. It's small, flexible, and sharp, which makes it easy to work around the bones. The slicer should be 9 to 11 inches in length and razor-sharp. It'll be what's used to slice the breast meat thinly while still keeping it together."

Do you already own something appropriate? Maybe. Look around your kitchen for something around 6 to 7 inches in length that can be your boning knife. For a slicer, the qualifications are slightly more specific: You want something with a blade that's long and slender (not wedge-shaped like a chef's knife), and made from metal that's as thin as possible. This cuts down on cutting friction, meaning that your breast meat won't slice up shaggy, dry, and unappealing.

If using knives that you already own, you're definitely going to want to sharpen them for the big day (NB: that cylindrical honing steel that came with your knife set? It doesn't put a fresh edge on your knife it only gives it a little touch-up between sharpenings). Over the long term, equipping yourself with a sharpening stone and a good instructional video is the cheapest, fastest, and best way to keep your knives sharp, but it takes a good deal of practice to get hand-sharpening right. For now, try dropping the knives off at a local sharpener. Sur La Table stores offer knife-sharpening nationwide in New York,
Broadway Panhandler is the way to go.

Short of any reasonable knife options already on hand, this may be a good time to bite the bullet and buy a proper slicer. Without getting too deep into the vagaries of steel blending or the distinctions between Japanese and German knife craftsmanship, here are a couple of great options:

Shun Premier Slicing Knife: Santoro likes Shun's super-premium knives best for home use because they're made from a medium-strength steel that's easier to sharpen than Wusthof or Henckels, but still holds an edge longer than the softer steels favored by professional chefs.

Victorinox 12" Granton Edge Slicing Knife: If you don't have a couple hundred bucks burning a hole in your pocket, I highly recommend Victorinox's slicer. Fancy it is not (it's got a plastic handle), but it comes sharp, has just the right amount of flex, and it's cheap enough that if you screw it up in the process of learning how to sharpen your own knives, it's no big deal.

Homemade Glaze for Kirkland Master Carve Ham

Oh Costco how could you take our glaze away? Ok, maybe not as dramatic as that last one sounds.

A year ago, I reviewed the Kirkland Master Carve Boneless Ham. It came as a whole ham that has been carved off the bone. No one shaped it into an unnatural log shape like the traditional boneless ham.

This ham also came with a glaze - a red currant one. I prefer to make glazes myself but I used the one that came with it for review purposes.

It was a good glaze. Not too sweet. I wasn't a big fan myself of the dried currants that was in the glaze but nevertheless, still made for a tasty ham.

Sometime in 2016, Costco decided to get rid of the glaze and go to selling the ham in only half size portions. You can just buy two halves like I did for Christmas 2016. As for the glaze, I got you covered - so your ham can be covered in flavor!

If you are interested in learning about what the ingredients that are in this ham and other hams check out my post "What's in Ham".

Since I was cooking two ham halves at once, I thought why not do two different glazes at the same time. Glaze Number 1 is my interpretation of the currant glaze that Costco use to offer. Number 2 is a simple brown sugar-dijon mustard glaze. I was going to try and make a ham glaze using Pomegranate molasses, but Whole Foods was all out at the time. I wanted to compare the flavor of the Pomegranate molasses to that provided by the red currant jam. Both have that sweet yet tangy thing going on. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Red Currant Glaze

I went back to the ingredients that appeared in the red currant glaze Costco use to provide. That glaze included currant juice, dried zante currants, Worcestershire sauce, and a few other ingredients. Since it's easier to find I choose red currant jam. The pectin in the jam would gives the glaze some body. In order to balance out the sweetness, I added some white wine vinegar (you could use red wine to for a more intense flavor). The Worcestershire sauce may seem strange but it goes really well and you only need a little. It just enriches the glaze without screaming their Worcestershire sauce in it. I also decided to add some ground cloves. Cloves and ham are a classic combo. You often see some old school ham recipes with whole cloves stuck right into the ham.

If you liked the dried currants that were in the original Costco glaze you add about ¼ cup of them. The zante currants that were in that glaze are actually dried Champagne grapes, which are not made from Champagne. Lots of confusing marketing going on here. Dried zante currants are easier to find, but if you can get actual dried red or black currants by all means use them.